The Elbe River cruise was originally intended to use one boat for the entire trip. But, about two weeks from embarkation we were advised by Viking that the water level of the river was too low and we may have to do some of the trip via bus and use two different boats.
When we arrived at the hotel and had our first group meeting with Simon, the Cruise Director, he advised us that not only was there enough water for us to sail the entire trip on the Astrild, Viking had agreed to also allow us to use the 50% discount they had given us two week earlier to our next cruise.
We arrived at the boat and was met by a crew that left very positive impressions. I have very significant dietary restrictions that if violated and I don't catch it, I would likely end up with a medical emergency. Everyone from Simon down to the Chef had been briefed on the issues. The Chef and the Head Steward were very attentive to the details, prepared meals that complied with the restrictions AND were filled with flavor ()I'm not used to that).
Then the tours took on a uniqueness that I had never experienced despite all of the cruises I had done on other cruise lines. I actually learned something from the tour guides because we had time to talk in depth about some of the most poignant historical architecture, paintings and other art work, and events.
Simon also arranged something highly unusual that I had not experienced before. At one of the stops in the former East Germany, one of the highly educated, experienced tour guides agreed to surprise the Astrild passengers later after dinner.
Astrid (so similar to the boat!) went well beyond the norm and dressed in period costume, partnered with some musician friends, and involved the passengers in a kind of interactive play that allowed the more open-minded, creative thinkers to imagine ourselves attending a personal performance/party given by the local monarch of the period. She and her friends were completely amazing.
So, yes, Viking....no...the people who are part of the Viking family do literally put their heart and soul into these trips. I was sooo lucky to have made several new friends.
The cabin was clean, spacious, and comfortable.